Vandals trash kids’ artwork

Coun. Ellen Ball  with smashed artwork, which was made by local schoolchildren, on the footbridge over Stockton Road, Ryhope.
Coun. Ellen Ball with smashed artwork, which was made by local schoolchildren, on the footbridge over Stockton Road, Ryhope.
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VANDALS have attacked a school artwork project just days after it was installed on a city footbridge.

Year Five pupils from St Paul’s CE Primary School in Ryhope worked with artist Clare Flaws on the ‘Love where you live’ project, which depicts how families would look and dress from the 18th Century to the present day.

Children’s drawings were made into 20 panels, which were installed on the footbridge over Stockton Road last week as part of a community project to brighten up the area and encourage youngsters to use the footbridge to walk to school safely.

“The kids did all the designs from scratch,” said teacher Dan Sullivan.

“They had a really good time doing it, and they loved colouring in the pictures.”

But now police are appealing for help in tracking down vandals who have slashed and ripped several of the panels.

Neighbourhood Sergeant Tom Connor said: “This is an act of deliberate vandalism by individuals who have spoiled the work of young children.

“The pupils had worked hard on the project, and it really made the footbridge a more attractive area for pedestrians to use when safely crossing the bridge.

“It’s a real shame that some mindless people decided to damage it.

“I’m sure the local community, and the children in particular, will be upset by what has happened, and we are asking local people to contact us straightaway if they have information which could help our inquiries.”

Coun Ellen Ball is chairman of the city council’s East Committee, which helped fund the project, and joined the children to see the work installed last week.

She said: “This is devastating for the youngsters that put so much effort into these work.

“It’s sad that some people only want to damage and destroy everything they see.

“If anyone has more information on this, then I’d urge them to share it with the police immediately.”

Anyone who was in the area and who may have seen or heard anything suspicious is asked to contact police on 101, extension 69191, quoting log number 727 of 11/09/14 or ring the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.